Community has different meanings for all of us. For some community is the one we are born in, for others it is something they create. Communities cross county lines and span across oceans. We can attain multiple communities throughout our lives; our work, our home, our friendships.
Today the strongest community in my life mourns the loss of someone taken from Earth too soon. But what I am reminded of and what I must focus on is the community that came together today.
The older I get the more appreciate I am of the place I have the privilege of calling home. A place that raises kids collectively. A town where everyone knows your name. A home where support is abundant.
As I shared with college friends that someone from home passed away I explained to them the feeling that I must go home. I spoke about all the events that will be taking place at home, the people who will come back, the fact that I could already predict the church would be packed. Many were surprised, being unfamiliar with this phenomenon. It was an instant reminder of how fortunate I am to have community in different aspects of my life, that I get to take comfort in knowing they are always there.
As I move forward into a profession that often leaves me emotionally exhausted I know I can pull strength from the community that surrounds me at school. When something in my life is tempting me to lose hope I can lean on my community of friendships that I have made throughout my life. And when someone from my hometown is taken I can depend on my home community to be there with me.
I want to make change in the world. I desire to be a part of something bigger. I have a thirst for learning more about people and places I do not yet know. I feel called to help people. I have a passion for justice. All of that requires community, and I learned from the best.
To be an individual is important but to truly make change, to feel love, to move past grief; it takes a community. Do not be afraid to connect to those you have not connected with. Always say what you want to say and speak your truth. Make the world better by always supporting each other even when it feels like the hardest thing you have ever done.
It is easy to forget the importance of community until they are needed to call upon. Today I was reminded of that. But I move forward with the intention of always remembering that, not just in times of grief but in times of joy and celebration.
Lean on your community a little longer today, that is what we are here for.
Photo cred: http://www.visitcookcounty.com/communities/grand-marais/